A diary of nature observation and discovery activities.
Moving on from our last post on Richard Louv and the sense of wonder in children, Sophie Rees brings us ‘The Wonder Journal’, a diary of nature observation and discovery activities for children. Get your children connected to nature and stuck into discovering the autumn’s ‘Sticky Buds’ and the surprise they hold inside.
Sophie Rees’ profile:
The foundation for Sophie’s respect and love for nature definitely began in early childhood, playing out in the back garden with her 3 sisters. The scent of Lily of the Valley and roses and the taste of fresh raspberries are all vivid memories, as well as walking down country lanes in the village of Cornworthy in Devon with her grandmother picking primroses and other wild flowers.
Whilst working as a primary school teacher she was fortunate enough to visit the preschools of Reggio Emilia in Italy, an experience which has shaped her thinking and view of teaching enormously. Sophie is passionate about ideas based, classical education and particularly the philosophy of Charlotte Mason. When not looking after her 3 children, she is occasionally to be found providing CPD training for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening. The Wonder Journal provides a welcome opportunity to combine all these things.“It was inspired partly by some books from a bygone era which I love reading to my own children, for two reasons: firstly, they assume a high view of children’s minds and personhood and therefore never “talk down” to them; and secondly, rather than viewing knowledge as something to be reduced to predigested facts with which to fill their brains, they present them with the “great ideas of life” and then allow them space to contemplate, to reflect, to imagine, to make connections and to draw their own conclusions. I really wanted to combine these ideas with the habit of nature journaling which we are trying to develop in our own family. That’s how Beatrix Potter began her life’s work as a naturalist as well as an artist. What greater inspiration could we need?”
The Wonder Journal speaks directly to the child. Mature readers can read alone, the younger might enjoy it being read aloud. This time capsule activity encourages full immersion in the process of discovery and reflection on the findings.
For a full download of the journal entry click any image in this post. The Wonder Journal will feature as a regular slot in the Smart Happy Project magazine, you won’t have to print your own then. But while we build the project and gain the following this is how you can access it.“Have you ever wondered about trees and how they grow from something so small as an acorn into something so big and tall and strong as a mighty oak? Have you ever noticed the wonderful changes from season to season? Have you ever thought how beautiful trees are? Many people are so busy rushing that they don’t take time to stop and think about such things. Often grown-ups are like that because they spend so much time thinking about what they need to do next that they don’t notice the very thing which is right in front of them. Sometimes they need help to slow down and notice stuff like that. That’s what wondering is all about. Sometimes it’s a feeling of surprise at something new or unexpected, or a feeling of admiration at something beautiful. But it can also be a feeling of curiosity – wanting to know something or understand it better. Do you ever wonder? Do you ever like to just sit and look at a view or to remember something special you have seen or done? I do. Are you someone who likes to ask lots of questions? I am. Maybe sometimes people don’t have time to answer all your questions and that can be frustrating – or maybe they don’t know all the answers. Well, don’t give up. What you are doing is a very important thing – thinking and wondering. It is a special part of what makes us human beings different from the animals and other creatures which we see around us. You can help others to do it too. Next time you see something interesting or beautiful or even amazing, why not stop someone else and get them to wonder with you?
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, we were wondering about trees…”
Click here for a print PDF download and to get started on your sticky buds time capsule.
Remember to share the wonder! Tell you friends about ‘The Wonder Journal’ part of the Smart Happy Project magazine. If you haven’t already, sign up for membership to connect children to nature.